Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Marking 1,700 Years Of Faith.

Byline: Paul Logan Journal Staff Writer

* Armenians worldwide celebrate history of Christianity in their homeland

At a modest chapel in Albuquerque's Southeast Heights on Sunday, about 40 Armenian Americans celebrated the 1700th anniversary of Armenia becoming the first nation to declare Christianity as its state religion.

The Rev. Arnak Kasparian, a gray-bearded priest wearing gold vestments, told those assembled they were commemorating an event in 301 when St. Gregory, known as the Illuminator, came out of "a deep pit" where he had been held prisoner for 13 years. The saint then miraculously cured the ailing Armenian king and baptized him, leading to the king's establishing Christianity as the national faith. …

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